Jan '13 - Nov '13
So… we did this design for a restaurant (the third of the series, talk about getting pigeon-holed). A few weeks after we handed in the drawings the client called us back complaining that the usual contractor was out of the game and, two weeks from the planned opening, they had no one to do the work.
We looked each other in the eyes and knew what was up. We asked for a cash surplus to do the work ourselves. The work included painting, furniture making, electrical and plumbing, and some decoration work.
We both had done stuff like this before, albeit never professionally, and it sounded like a good way of rounding up our revenue before the summer break.
It was a tough 11 days. We had to schedule the work really carefully, as the restaurant had to be open and usable from 6 am to 11 am in order to be used as breakfast room for the hotel above (part of the reason why the contractor refused to take the job). At the end of every day we had to spend about 2 hours cleaning up everything. We worked late nights, with the clients coming in at any given time to change things around. Stress levels were through the roof. But we managed, and stuff we put up is, fingers crossed, still standing up.
We did it out of necessity, and I am still pondering over the consequences: we're young and this showed a lot of good will to the clients, but on the other hand I cannot shake the feeling it de-professionalized us a bit.
Where do you draw the line? Your respectability as an architect obviously runs on what you do and how you do it, but the way clients perceive you is also important. The restaurant is in one of the most exclusive addresses in town, the people you see walking out there certainly do not belong to the 99%. We were drenched in sweat and paint while there… how did that impact the perception that people passing by had of us when they found out that we were the architects?
My partner is of the "well dressed" type, while I stick to my t-shirts and Vans. He, by his own admission, makes an effort against his own nature to do so. I can easily hold my own in any conversation and social context (I have more years and travels under my old, worn-out belt) but on visual impact he certainly looks more professional.
Would have any of you taken on the task of transforming themselves into construction workers for two weeks? What's to do? Where is the line?
An architect, according to Google Images. Look at that beautiful post-post-modern, simmetrical tower.
a pretty close representation of my partner on an average day at work (Stefano, should you read this: don't get mad, you know I'm right)
Justin Pearson of Retox/The Locust, one of my personal style icons. Not sure he knows how to use Grasshopper.
Starting up your own practice is often something you only dream of... what if one day you woke up and realized that you really had no other option? Young, determined, absolutely pennyless and without much of a clue, these are the chronicles of Richard and Stefano trying to start their dream practice: Osom Architects.